One thing Nancy Willard said at her TLA presentation was that she has made up her mind to speak out strenuously for commonsense filtering since she knows that many times teachers, whose jobs are on the line, may not feel that they can express themselves quite so freely. That statement galvanized me! It made me think that I could and should do the same. That led to my article in the September/October issue of Multimedia&Internet@School called "I'm Mad and I'm Not Gonna Take It Anymore" about draconian filtering still all to common in schools. In the next issue I will have an article called "Everybody Else is Doing It," which seeks to give people ideas for seeking access based on the fact that so many districts and schools have already jumped on the bandwagon using great Web 2.0 resources.
Today while I was working on an upcoming presentation about filtering, I got to thinking that it might be helpful to offer a list of some people whose presentations and writings can be used by educators in the trenches as they try to get access so kids can benefit from the many great Web 2.0 resources available online. Thus I am starting my heroes list: MA Bell's List of Commonsense Filtering Heroes. I will start off with three names and a bit about each person and will add more in the near future. Maybe readers have suggestions?
- Nancy Willard, director of the Center For Save and Responsible Internet Use, is the first person that comes to my mind when I think about advocates for sensible filters in schools. She is a lawyer as well as an educator and thus has a two-pronged approach which adds additional import to her contributions. Her many articles on this topic are easily found in databases, blogs, and other sites located by doing a simple search using her name. Also, you can find online information at many sites, foremost being her own: http://www.csriu.org/ Also listed there are her two books on the topic.
- Doug Johnson, Director of Media and Technology in the Mankato Schools, MN, is a wonderful presenter and author as well as educator, with a long history or leadership in librarianship and technology. He has a plethora of presentations and articles about filtering and access, and also addresses the topic frequently in his Blue Skunk Blog: http://doug-johnson.squarespace.com/ For more great information, visit his website at http://www.doug-johnson.com/
- Dr. Barry Bishop, Director of Library Information Services, Spring Branch, TX, is a True Texas Hero! Take a look at the wonderful district website he maintains. This site should be in everybody's tag collection: http://library.springbranchisd.com/library-resources/ Last year he took part in a panel discussion at TLA about student access and filtering. His commonsense approach should be adopted by so many other administrators. Seeing his excellent resources should show other leaders the way to move beyond overly restrictive filters.